SUMMARY of the Article “Budgets to empower women,” by Rashida Dohad, Dawn, June 8th, 2024

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9 min readJun 8, 2024

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The article explores the financial investments made by the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in Pakistan to empower women, using a gender budget tagging methodology developed in 2023. This methodology assesses the allocation and expenditure of budgets aimed at providing women and girls with equal opportunities in education, healthcare, training, credit, justice, security, disaster response, and social protection. The analysis of budgets from FY2020–21 to FY2022–23 shows that high relevance allocations, which directly support gender equality, ranged from 4.8% to 6.73% of the total budget, while actual spending was between 5.8% to 7.53%. These allocations typically fund schools, hospitals, and shelters for violence victims. Medium relevance funds, which indirectly benefit women, constituted 36% of KP’s budget and 44.43% of Punjab’s budget over three years, supporting universities, hospitals, and transport. Low relevance funds, representing 15% of KP’s and 13.67% of Punjab’s budgets, include investments like agricultural research that could aid women. The federal budget for FY2023–24 allocated the largest gender-responsive share, Rs499,940m, to social protection, primarily the Benazir Income Support Programme. To enhance the impact of gender-responsive budgets, three priority actions are recommended: integrating gender budget tagging into financial systems, providing detailed budget information for accurate tagging, and using generated data for in-depth assessments to address issues like high dropout rates of girls. Pakistan, ranked 142 out of 146 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index 2023, stands to gain economically from gender equality, with potential GDP growth, reduced income inequality, and better development outcomes. Promoting gender equality, however, is also essential as it is a fundamental human right. # **Easy/Short SUMMARY**: The article discusses how Punjab and KP in Pakistan use their budgets to help women and girls get equal opportunities in areas like education, healthcare, and safety. It looks at budgets from 2020 to 2023, showing that only a small part of the budget directly supports gender equality. Most of the money helps in ways that indirectly benefit women. The federal budget for 2023–24 focuses on social protection programs like the Benazir Income Support Programme. To improve, the article suggests using detailed budget tracking, providing better information, and addressing issues like high dropout rates among girls. Pakistan ranks low in gender equality but can benefit economically and socially by promoting it. # **SOLUTIONS of The Problem**: ## **Integration of Gender Budget Tagging** Incorporate gender budget tagging into the financial data management systems of federal and provincial governments to ensure robust data and analysis for better budget allocation decisions. ## **Detailed Budget Information** Provide more comprehensive descriptions of current and development budgets to facilitate accurate gender tagging, ensuring that the relevance of each budget item to gender equality is clear. ## **Targeted Assessments and Investments** Use the data from gender tagging for in-depth assessments to determine the most impactful use of resources, addressing specific challenges like high dropout rates among girls and incorporating anti-discrimination content into education. ## **Training and Capacity Building** Upgrade the skills of government officials to produce detailed and gender-sensitive project planning documents, improving the accuracy and effectiveness of gender-responsive budgeting. ## **Enhanced Social Services** Increase funding for social services such as schools, healthcare, and shelters that directly support women and girls, ensuring these services are accessible and effective in promoting gender equality. ## **Economic Empowerment Programs** Expand vocational training, credit access, and mobility support for women to enhance their economic opportunities and independence, contributing to broader economic growth. ## **Public Awareness Campaigns** Implement campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of gender-responsive budgeting and the benefits of gender equality, encouraging public support and engagement. ## **Monitoring and Evaluation** Establish systems for regular monitoring and evaluation of gender-responsive budgets to track progress, identify gaps, and make necessary adjustments to ensure effective implementation. ## **Collaboration with NGOs and International Bodies** Work with non-governmental organizations and international bodies to leverage expertise, resources, and best practices in promoting gender equality through budget allocations. ## **Legislative and Policy Reforms** Ensure compliance with domestic policies like the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Women Empowerment Policy, 2017, and the Punjab Women Development Policy, 2018, as well as international commitments such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Sustainable Development Goals. # **IMPORTANT Facts and Figures Given in the Article**: — High relevance budget allocations for gender equality ranged from 4.8% to 6.73% of the total budget, with spending between 5.8% to 7.53% from FY2020–21 to FY2022–23. — Medium relevance funds constituted 36% of KP’s budget and 44.43% of Punjab’s budget over three years. — Low relevance funds represented 15% of KP’s and 13.67% of Punjab’s budgets. — The federal budget for FY2023–24 allocated Rs499,940m to social protection, with 94% highly relevant to gender equality. — Pakistan ranks 142 out of 146 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index 2023. # **MCQs from the Article**: ### 1. **What percentage of the budget in Punjab was allocated for medium relevance public services over three years?** A. 15% B. 36% C. 44.43% **D. 13.67%** ### 2. **Which program received the largest share of the gender-responsive federal budget for FY2023–24?** A. Education B. Healthcare **C. Social protection** D. Climate change ### 3. **What methodology was developed in 2023 to assess budgets for gender relevance in Punjab and KP?** A. Budget allocation strategy **B. Gender budget tagging** C. Financial management system D. Public expenditure review ### 4. **What is the primary focus of the federal budget’s largest gender-responsive allocation for FY2023–24?** A. Education facilities B. Healthcare services **C. Social safety nets** D. Climate change mitigation ### 5. **Which policy is cited as part of Pakistan’s domestic compliance for promoting gender equality?** A. Sustainable Development Goals **B. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Women Empowerment Policy, 2017** C. Punjab Economic Development Policy, 2020 D. National Gender Action Plan, 2021 # **VOCABULARY**: 1. **Quantum** (noun) (مقدار): The required or allowed amount. 2. **Expenditure** (noun) (خرچ): The action of spending funds. 3. **Granular** (adjective) (باریک): Detailed and precise. 4. **Disaggregated** (adjective) (تقسیم شدہ): Separated into its component parts. 5. **Compliance** (noun) (مطابقت): The action of complying with a command or rule. 6. **Strategic** (adjective) (حکمت عملی): Relating to the identification of long-term goals and means of achieving them. 7. **Mitigation** (noun) (کمی): The action of reducing the severity of something. 8. **Afforestation** (noun) (شجرکاری): The process of planting trees in an area to create a forest. 9. **Resilience** (noun) (لچک): The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. 10. **Tagging** (noun) (ٹیگنگ): The action of labeling or identifying. 11. **Fiscal** (adjective) (مالی): Relating to government revenue, especially taxes. 12. **Vocational** (adjective) (پیشہ ورانہ): Relating to an occupation or employment. 13. **Macro-economic** (adjective) (وسیع معاشی): Relating to the large-scale economic factors. 14. **Parity** (noun) (برابری): The state or condition of being equal. 15. **Legislator** (noun) (قانون ساز): A person who makes laws. 16. **Relevance** (noun) (موزونیت): The quality or state of being closely connected or appropriate. 17. **Tertiary** (adjective) (اعلیٰ): Relating to education at a level beyond secondary school. 18. **Adaptive** (adjective) (مطابقت پذیر): Able to adjust to new conditions. 19. **Expended** (verb) (خرچ کرنا): Spend or use up. 20. **Hostels** (noun) (ہاسٹل): An establishment that provides inexpensive food and lodging. 📢 *Attention Please!* We appreciate your commitment to acquiring knowledge through our summaries. Please be reminded not to remove the attribution label affixed to this article. It is crucial to acknowledge the source and the effort invested in creating this summary. We discourage any unauthorized distribution without proper credit. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. 🔍 ⚡ *Explore More Summaries, Solutions, and Vocabulary Meanings!* 💡 Join our WhatsApp Channel for timely and comprehensive summaries of the latest articles, along with well-crafted solutions and helpful vocabulary meanings. Click the link below to join now: 🔗 [Dawn Article Summaries](https://cssmcqs.com/dawn-editorials-articles-summary-for-students-pdf-download/) dawn.com Budgets to empower women Rashida Dohad 7–8 minutes HOW much do governments in Pakistan spend to empower women? What are the trends in allocating and expending budgets for facilities and institutions that help women and girls get equal opportunities and live in dignity? Are there gaps in essential and strategic investments that can be plugged to help reduce gender parity? A gender budget tagging methodology developed for the governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in 2023 helps answer these questions. It maps budgets to assess the quantum and nature of approved allocations and actual public spending likely to help women and girls access services like education, healthcare, training, credit, justice, security, disaster response and social protection. Public funds are also ranked on the basis of their relevance to empowering women. Gender-tagging of the provincial budgets of Punjab and KP over the past three fiscal years, FY2020–21, FY2021–22 and FY2022–23, shows approved allocations with a high gender-relevance ranged from 4.8 per cent to 6.73pc of the total budget, and spending was between 5.8pc to 7.53pc of the total expenditures. Budgets marked as high relevance have a principal purpose of supporting gender equality. These typically include funds for schools, hospitals, start-ups and other financing mechanisms designed to benefit women and girls. They also include public resources for creating and running shelters and providing other facilities that help respond to violence against women. High relevance allocations were not the only gender-responsive investments made by the provincial governments. Rs1,315,409 million, or 36pc of total allocations over three years in KP, and Rs4,113,273m, or 44.43pc of the total in Punjab, were allocated for public services like universities, tertiary care hospitals, irrigation, and transport. These amounts are of medium relevance, as they likely benefited women and girls even though gender equality was not the deliberate purpose of these budgets. Gender-responsive budgets will help provide more equal opportunities, which can be a strong engine for macroeconomic stability. An additional Rs554,999m, or 15pc of the cumulative total three-year budgets in KP, and Rs1,265,760m, or 13.67pc of the total in Punjab, represent low relevance funds; ie, amounts that may create an enabling environment for gender equality by supporting, for example, agricultural research that will assist women who depend on farming for food and livelihood. Going forward, more granular information, including sex-disaggregated data, will help governments show whether such public spending gives women and girls access to equal opportunities and rights, demonstrating government compliance with domestic policies like the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Women Empowerment Policy, 2017, and the Punjab Women Development Policy, 2018, as well as international obligations such as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Categorising gender-responsive budgets shows that the largest share in fiscal years 2020–23 was provided for social services in Punjab and KP. This included funds for education, healthcare, and basic services like drinking water. This was followed by budgets for women’s economic empowerment, which support the access of girls and women to income opportunities and contribute to economic activity. This included funds for vocational training, credit, mobility, and facilities like working women’s hostels that make it possible for women to take jobs away from their families and hometowns. An analysis of Pakistan’s federal budget for FY2023–24 shows that the largest share of gender-responsive budgets, Rs499,940m, was allocated for social protection, which includes support for social safety nets like the Benazir Income Support Programme. Ninety-four per cent of the amount categorised under social protection is highly relevant; ie, designed for gender equality. Rs139,720m expended for climate change supports adaptive and mitigation measures such as afforestation, solarisation and research on climate trends. However, in this category, dedicated funds are needed to develop the resilience of women, poor and others that are most vulnerable to climate shocks. The information generated by gender tagging of federal and provincial budgets helps understand what is funded, how much is funded, where the funding gaps are, and how to better allocate resources. Using such information and analysis for sustained and more impactful outcomes requires three priority actions. First, integrate methodologies like gender budget tagging in the financial data management systems of the federal and provincial governments, so that robust data and analysis, including trends over time, are regularly made available to assist legislators, policymakers and government officials in making gender-responsive budget choices. Second, provide more detailed information on current and development budgets to help more accurate gender tagging. Descriptions of budgets often do not provide enough information to judge their gender relevance. Some headway has been made to improve data contained in project planning documents, like the PC-1s. These efforts should be further expedited and skills of government officials upgraded so that they are able to produce more detailed PC-1s. Third, use the information generated by gender tagging of budgets for in-depth assessments to help more impactful use of public resources to empower women and increase their agency. For example, providing schools and colleges for girls is important to reduce gender parity. But equally important is an assessment of how budgets can overcome challenges like high dropout rates of girls after primary school, estimated at 32pc. Also required are strategic investments, like including content in education curriculum that helps reverse pervasive social discrimination against women and girls. Ranked 142 out of 146 countries, Pakistan is nearly at the bottom of the Global Gender Gap Index 2023, reflecting the grim realities of women, who make up 49pc of the country’s population of 241.5m. Gender-responsive budgets will help reduce gender disparities and provide more equal opportunities, which can provide a strong engine for macroeconomic stability, stimulate economic growth, reduce income inequality, and make better development outcomes possible. According to the UNDP, $12 trillion could be added to the global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. But gender equality should not only be pursued for economic growth and inclusive development. It should be promoted because the ability to live with independence, dignity and freedom is a fundamental human right. The writer is the executive director of the Omar Asghar Khan Foundation. rdohad@oakdf.org.pk Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2024

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